- Don-Alvin Adegeest |
Day four of London Fashion Week saw designers including Erdem, Roksanda, Amanda Wakely, Pringle, Christopher Kane, Ashish, Joseph and Julien MacDonald take to the catwalk. These are the heavyweight brands and designers who mark the official LFW schedule, but there was plenty to see at showrooms, agencies, hotel rooms and events organized off-schedule too. This is perhaps why fashion in London is seriously booming.
As the Deputy Mayor of Culture, Justine Simons, stated on Friday morning's LFW opening, the British fashion industry contributes 28 billion pounds annually to the national economy, an impressive figure considering it is higher than that of the automotive industry.
Erdem, a London-based label founded by Canadian born Erdem Moralioglu, is perhaps a modest contributor to the industry at large - his 2016 financial year posted revenue of 9.5 million pounds - but his star and brand are on the ascent, as was evident from the collection he showed on Monday.
Known for his use of experimental textiles, prints and craftsmanship, Erdem for Spring Summer 18 was inspired by the queen, having researched her wardrobe at Windsor Castle. From an emerald brocade coat that opened the show, to the ribbons and long-sleeve gloves bejeweled with pearls that complemented regal dresses, this was an ode to royalty in the jazz age. With Erdem's debut high street collaboration with H&M launching in November, it will be interesting to see how his delicate and enchanting designs will translate into the fast fashion realm.
Domestic eroticism and sexy suburban housewives provided a strange yet perverse inspiration for Christopher Kane's SS18 collection. The catwalk opened with a sumptuous wallpaper printed coat, offset by one that soon followed in patent leather with a virgin-esque Peter Pan collar with delicate embroidery. Talk about naughty vs nice. This was the wardrobe equivalent of a lady with a respectable public life versus what she may wear in private, behind closed doors.
Standout pieces include a soft pink lurex dress with a horizontal zip above the waist and around the neck, and a bright yellow shift, complete with dangling dishcloths, albeit in silk, from its hem and sleeve. It was subtle details like these, or those of the mop strands which hung from precious metal earrings, that show Kane remains one of London's most formidable fashion talents.
Hibiscus prints, raw cottons and relaxed tailoring were on display at Serbian designer Roksanda Ilincic's latest collection. Showing at the Serpentine Gallery in Hyde Park instead of the London Fashion Week tents, Ilincic, who is probably best known for her sculptural prints and forms, merged the exotic with the pragmatic, like long column dresses worn over trousers. Rope belts were loosely entwined in jackets, dresses and trousers with a paper-bag waist. Bellowing sleeves on draped blouses and jewel-tone satin dresses brought fluidity to an already elongated silhouette. The show notes cited Russian Constructivism as an influence, but if that referenced the floating pieces seen on Monday's catwalk, they had red carpet ready all over them.
Protests outside Pringle of Scotland
London Fashion Week, since it kicked off on Friday, has been inundated with protests. An uprising of the anti-fur brigade stood outside Versace, outside Burberry and outside the theatre at the screening of Garth Pugh's film at the London IMAX. At Pringle, a single protester was gratuitously announcing: “There’s nothing to see in there but overpriced jumpers. Overpriced jumpers this way, everyone. If you want to see some overpriced jumpers on undersized women, you’re in the right place. Why you’d want to do that is beyond me.”
The protestor may have spoken differently had he indeed seen the collection. Pringle showed that knitwear can successfully play the lead in a fashionable wardrobe, whether overpriced or not.
The Scottish fashion house's Creative Director, Fran Stringer, transformed gossamer knits, woven from fabrics like nylon, viscose and cellulose yarn, into ultra fine-knit garments. These included the sheer orange sleeveless knitted dress that opened the show, to intarsia sweaters so holy the hems frayed drapily over silky trousers, which equally frayed at the hem. A pretty blanket dress in the lightest weight grey wool made for a look that appeared as cosy as it did cool. Stringer showed us knitwear is not just a garment for winter, but a year round possibility, though the typical Pringle items are likely to be the ones which endure. Sometimes you just want to wear a plain old cardigan, no strings - or strands - attached.
Photo credit: Christopher Kane backstage SS18, source: Christopher Kane website; Erdem SS16, source Erdem Facebook page; Pringle of Scotland SS18, source: Pringle Facebook page